“We were small, but not as small as you think”

Edgar Degas Peasant Girls Bathing in the Sea at Dusk (1875)

We were basic. We’d earned archery badges. We played piano. We threw I-Ching. The townspeople were little Pharisees. We saw the facts under their Izod vestments.

Who doesn’t finally emerge armed from the creek bed, antediluvian, robust?

Who will ever forget what we did at the railroad interchange, the alleyway, the grain elevator, main street, or on one of two hills?

The first hill was named after a conqueror: the second after the conquered. This was a site on the small patch of the conquistador’s chain mill. This was a rock drenched with indigenous blood. Later in both places generations of fleeing evacuees carved these numbers:

7 Billion
<3’s
ZERO

Generations of evacuees carved out these numbers, but this was a museum in which we the peasant girls had long planned to live: the new mall. We went long risk on belly trenches beside the aquamarine fountain. There were defaults among shop rotations where we could realize. Either in the mall or seventeen miles apart, approximately, we could stand without family on the two hills and signal victory over the sign-light of Dairy Queen.

Read More | “The Revolt of the Peasant Girls” | Anne Boyer | PEN America